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March 27 - June 3, 2018

Martinson Hall

Tickets now at $95, plus fees

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Tickets started at $55

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Tickets now at $65

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Beautiful and endlessly echoing. Artful and ingenious simplicity. – The New York Times

Superhuman Grace by SAHR NGAUJAH. – The New York Times

KEVIN MAMBO, ITO AGHAYERE, and JOJO GONZALEZ are a deft, entertaining trio. – New York Magazine

This season, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage returns to The Public with a new drama as moving and incisive as her Broadway debut play Sweat, heralded by The New York Times as a “vital contribution to contemporary drama.”

Taking us on a journey that starts in a game park in Kenya and goes around the world, MLIMA'S TALE is the story of Mlima, a magnificent elephant trapped in the clandestine international ivory market. Following a trail of greed and desire as old as trade itself, Mlima leads us through memory and fear, history and tradition, and want and need.

Obie Award winner Jo Bonney (Father Comes Home from the Wars) directs this poignant new play that reveals the surprising and complicated deals that connect us all. 

Generous support for MLIMA'S TALE provided by an Edgerton Foundation New Play Award and Susan & David Edelstein.

All orders subject to $5 per ticket service fee and $2 per ticket facility fee. Service fees are waived when you buy in person at the Box Office. All fees are waived for Public Theater Members and Partners. Title, director, actors, designers, prices, performance dates & times are subject to change.

The Public is Theater Of, By, and For the People.

World Premiere


Written by Lynn Nottage
Based on the article "The Ivory Highway" by Damon Tabor
Directed by Jo Bonney

Featuring Ito Aghayere, Bjorn DuPatyJojo GonzalezKevin Mambo, Irungu Mutu, and Sahr Ngaujah

Scenic Design by Riccardo Hernandez
Costume Design by Jennifer Moeller
Lighting Design by Lap Chi Chu
Sound Design by Darron L West
Hair & Makeup Design by Cookie Jordan
Composer and Music Director: Justin Hicks
Movement Director: Chris Walker
Fight Director: Thomas Schall
Production Stage Manager: Linda Marvel
Production Stage Manager: Michael Wilhoite

See Complete Season
play_circle_outline Trek The Globe With MLIMAS TALE
play_circle_outline Greed and Desperation in the Ivory Trade
‘Mlima’s Tale’ Review: A Playwright and Her Prey
The Wall Street Journal, May 3, 2018
Stagecraft Podcast: Lynn Nottage on Her New Play’s Surprising Link to Kathryn Bigelow
Variety, May 1, 2018
"This Elephant Is Always in the Room"
TDF, April 16, 2018
“How Lynn Nottage, Playwright, Spends Her Sundays”
The New York Times, April 6, 2018
96 Elephants

96 Elephants

A program of the Wildlife Conservation Society, 96 Elephants fights for elephants on the ground—monitoring populations, managing protected areas, and conducting anti-poaching patrols.

Learn More

Wild Aid

Wild Aid

The illegal wildlife trade is a multi-billion dollar global industry largely driven by consumer demand in expanding economies. While most wildlife conservation groups focus on scientific studies and anti-poaching efforts, WildAid works to reduce global consumption of wildlife products and to increase local support for conservation efforts.

Learn More

Wild Aid
Goodbye Rhinos

Goodbye Rhinos

Goodbye Rhinos's art installation, The Last Three, which currently lives in Astor Place, gives awareness to the plight of the Northern White Rhinos. The artists have passionately dedicated their lives to stopping the misled demand for rhino horns.

Learn More

Mlima’s Tale

Ivory poaching isn’t just about killing elephants; it’s about removing an ecological keystone from the environment. Chelsea Clinton explains just how crucial elephants are to their surroundings, and the ways in which their loss could be catastrophic for us all.

26 April

#digiturgy #elephants #chelsea clinton #the cost of ivory #mlimas tale #public forum #keystone species #ecology

Mlima’s Tale

Chelsea Clinton and Lynn Nottage joined Public Forum’s THE COST OF IVORY and told everyone not only about the chain of custody from elephant to high-end store, but ways in which they’re trying to encourage high-end stores to stop commodifying ivory.

26 April

#Chelsea Clinton #Lynn Nottage #Digiturgy #The Cost of Ivory #Public Forum #Mlimas Tale #ivory #ivory trade

Mlima’s Tale

The Wildlife Conservation Society’s John F. Calvelli joined Public Forum to discuss THE COST OF IVORY with Chelsea Clinton, Lynn Nottage, and Oskar Eustis – and he started by telling us about New York’s particular history (and continued legacy) in the ivory trade.

26 April

#ivory #ivory trafficking #the cost of ivory #public forum #mlimas tale #digiturgy #john calvelli #WCS

Mlima’s Tale

During Public Forum’s THE COST OF IVORY conversation, Mlima’s Tale playwright Lynn Nottage told us about how she discovered the plight of the African elephant – and it begins with Academy Award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow.

26 April

#lynn nottage #the cost of ivory #mlimas tale #digiturgy #kathryn bigelow #elephants #poachers